Your Next Roofing Project is our Agenda

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“Beware of men, arriving in sealed trains, bearing ideologies.” – Ralph Steadman.

Steadman is an English cartoonist and illustrator that achieved minor fame for working with and illustrating the works of American writer, Hunter S. Thompson. The implication of that quote is to beware of agendas. Beware of people in sealed trains, shut off from the changing ideas of the world around them. One need not look far in any direction to see this in their own lives.  However, as Steadman stated, beware.

Given that, it would be disingenuous of us to say that we don’t have one in writing this article. What is our agenda you may ask? As part of the Foreman Group of companies, PerFOREMANce Roofing Specialists (PRS) was established in recognition of the critical role that roofing plays in protecting building assets. Our agenda is to spend a few minutes outlining the challenges we face and how we can help you make an informed decision about your commercial roofing needs.

Below are three questions most often asked of us when we meet with clients:


“Why should I hire PerFOREMANce Roofing Specialists? That’s just another expense!”

This is a question that, on the surface, could be answered with a bullet-point list of our experience, past projects and knowledge of roof systems. It would also be the exact same list that, most likely, a roofing contractor or manufacturer would provide. However, there would be one critical and important difference. PRS is the only stakeholder whose sole responsibility is to provide independent advice, guidance and expertise to you. We do not benefit by prescribing unnecessary repair or replacement proposals, or by insisting upon a particular product. This independence translates to cost-effective and prudent business decisions for you.

“But still,” you may ask, “how does this save us money?” As your independent designer and consultant, we engage the full wealth of our experience to evaluate your options based on your budget, compel competitive bidding, evaluate contractors based on experience and financial stability, and negotiate contracts on your behalf. But most importantly, we act solely as your agent for your roofing project and assure the work is done timely and within budget with minimal interruptions to your operations. If the contractor insists that they need a change order, we evaluate it. If a manufacturer wants to substitute one product for another, we evaluate it. If your project is falling behind schedule, we evaluate it. When taken as a whole, these services translate directly into not only cost savings, but peace of mind that you have a collaborative and open partner. The services of PRS are not an expense, they are an investment. That is our agenda.

“I don’t want any leaks! How long of a warranty can I get?”

Would you buy a car with a really great warranty that was constantly being repaired, even if it didn’t cost you anything? Or a car that never broke down? We would think most people would choose the latter. This isn’t to say that warranties are not a valuable part of a roof system, but they are only one part. Roof warranties, while affording a certain level of security for the building owner, have one often overlooked flaw. While it is true that the manufacturer will (generally) repair any defect in product or workmanship for a certain period of time, what they do not cover is consequential or incidental damage to the building, contents or assets.

Two very prominent roofing manufacturers share the same language in their warranties. They explicitly state that they “shall not be liable for consequential, special, incidental or other damages.” This arrangement is not unusual. Most warranties of all types are “limited” in scope. But roofing warranties are a unique instrument, in that even a small failure that may be fully covered by the warranty can have catastrophic consequences. It is this consequential nature of roof leaks that should give pause to any decision maker when determining the best course of action when choosing a roof design, manufacturer and installer.

It is for this reason that roof design has always been the cornerstone of PRS, not what manufacturer warranty we can provide to our client. A PRS design will always go beyond the manufacturers “minimum” requirements to obtain a warranty. We want you to have the car that never breaks down, first and have a great warranty, second. That is our agenda.

“Should I put on one of those white roofs?”

This question is most often asked because of what building owners think is going to be energy efficiency due to the installation of a white (usually TPO) membrane on their roof. Due to the reflective properties of a white membrane, the roof and building itself, should remain cooler, alleviating cooling costs for the building. While that is certainly rational, it is coupled with one caveat. Northern cities have many more days when they need to warm their buildings, not cool them. In Pittsburgh, we have on average about four times as many heating days as we do cooling days. This does not preclude the use of a white, single-ply membrane. It is just that the energy savings you think you are going to achieve may not be the best solution based on the environmental facts.

There is another design concern when considering a white membrane roof. If the roof insulation is not properly designed and installed, there is the possibility that condensation from humidity inside the building may accumulate under the roof membrane. This is caused when excessive humidity in the air rises through the insulation joints and comes in contact with the cooler underside of the white membrane, which then condensates. Although this condensation can dissipate, highly humid air and excessive condensation can lead to trapped moisture in your roof system and even result in leaks (even though the membrane remains watertight).

The answer to whether you should install a white roof is maybe. Since we are an independent designer and consultant, PRS will apply our experience to your goals for a solution based on analysis, not trends. That is our agenda.

Ralph Steadman’s first assignment with Hunter was to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlon’s Magazine. The article would be called, The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, and would mark the beginning of a long and collaborative relationship.

We begin very few relationships at the Kentucky Derby, but we do take relationship building very seriously. We are collaborative and deliberate. We are goal-oriented, which means we listen first. There are, of course, many more questions to be answered. We hope when you have them, you think of us. We work for you. That is our agenda.

What is your agenda? Please contact us at PRS so we can get together for a complete evaluation of your roofing needs.


*This article was written by David Meyer, a Roofing Specialist.